Saturday's voting came nine months after Libya was declared liberated from the regime of ousted leader Moammar Gadhafi and had a turnout of slightly more than 60 percent, the Tripoli Post reported Wednesday.
That Libya could conduct an election so soon after Gadhafi's ouster was surprising, said Dirk Vandewalle, a Libya scholar and associate professor of government at Dartmouth College.
Suggestions have been made that liberals and liberal parties were leading Islamic groups and individuals, the Post said. Voters will elect members of a 200-person assembly of which 80 seats go to party candidates, and 120 seats go the individuals.
"We don't know yet how many of the individual votes will pledge their support" to parties, Vandewalle said.
Asked why it appeared Islamic-related parties weren't faring well, Vandewalle said, "Most of the Islamic parties were heavily repressed under Gadhafi and have never really taken root substantially here in Libya's political life."
But, he added, "I think there's also another dimension, and that is that a lot of Libyans are quite suspicious of any group that would want to impose a certain political agenda upon them, and certainly would not be very happy, I think, with an Islamist party doing the same thing."
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